Review: The ninth annual Day of Delight: A celebration of love, courtship and desire! (Clay and Paper Theatre)

Clay and Paper Theatre created an idyllic, delightfully kid-friendly festival for a sunny afternoon on Sunday, June 19. The day of performances and happenings was themed around the real, public wedding of Ben and Leanne and the activities were love, relationship and matrimony-themed.

Act I opened with Human and Bicycle: A love story by CYCLOPS: Cycling Oriented Puppet Squad. The piece told the story of love flowering between a bicycle and its smitten owner, and contained humour geared to young as well as old.

You Seem Lonely as told by highly engaging storyteller Sage Tyrtle elicited laughs and a few moist eyes from adult members of the audience. The large population of tykes in the audience seemed perplexed by the boisterous laughter coming from the grown-ups in response to the many nostalgic 80s cultural references.

I have always been highly impressed by the amazingly beautiful art of silk dancing. Holding oneself aloft on silk scarves hanging from a branch in time to sexy jazz takes rhythm, grace and strength. The Upside-Down Ladies performing Lola was one of the best blends of grace, athleticism and showwomanship I have seen to date in this genre of performance art. I still have “Whatever Lola Wants” stuck in my head.

Lola was followed by Branches by Collective Exchange, a dance troupe whose style seems to further blur the line between ballet and modern dance. The highly polished troupe of women performed a beautiful and flowing piece to modern classical music.

Act I closed with stilt walkers Circus Alchemy performing hi-fi stereophonic, a definite crowd pleaser, especially for the kids. They performed a very adroit and comical dance number from their lofty perches.

Act II began with Georgian Music of Love, traditional a cappella Georgian wedding music performed by Darbazi. To clarify, I’m referring to the Georgia in Eastern Europe, NOT the one in the Southern United States. Darbazi, comprised of ethnically diverse members, have worked hard at capturing the distinctively fresh and vibrant quality of Eastern European vocals.

The Saucy Tarts continued to establish themselves as one of the premiere troupes in the city’s flourishing burlesque revival. I understand they make all their own costumes and in that event, these ladies could design clothes for me any day of the week. The costumes were colourful and stunning and keeping to the Can-Can as the new millennium theme of their numbers. They also kept the performance tame enough to be appropriate for all ages.

Act III included the real, humanist wedding of Ben and Leanne, surrounded by a theatrical performance, Love Coins, by KEME productions, another CYCLOPS performance entitled A Musical Bicycle Parade, and Songs in the Key of Love by Honey and Blair. The performances closed with A Dance Party in Cardbordia lead by Samba Elegua. It was especially fun to watch the little ones breaking it down to the energetic samba rhythms.

Cardbordia Fortress, built with old refrigerator and air conditioner boxes, was one of the day-long happenings. Every box you peeked into contained a blissfully cached child.

For more information on Clay and Paper Theatre – “Where public space and puppets meet”- visit their website at Their family-friendly season runs in the park from May to August 2011 .